The National:

UNIVERSITY Challenge is one of the hardest quiz shows on the telly – but they take it easy for their Christmas specials featuring the ageing past alum of the UK’s top universities.

Jon Baird, for Aberdeen University where he was a student in the 1990s, is a film director best known for directing the recent Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan and Laurel, as well as the Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth.

A fair grounding in works about the working classes but a Marxist he is not – at least if the jaw-dropping answer he gave on Monday night’s show was anything to go by.

Host Jeremy Paxman asked: “What five-letter word is both the final word in the English translation of the Communist Manifesto and also the name of the UK’s largest trade union?”

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The famous work, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the Communist International and considered the foundational text of the communist ideology, ends with the rousing call to arms: “Working men of all countries, ASLEF!”

Wait no, that’s not right. Unless you’re Baird that is, who delivered the dud answer with all the conviction of someone who knew the clip would haunt him forever.

For his efforts, he was given a vintage Paxman “no…” before the host turned to someone else for an answer.

The answer was Unite – which came with its own issues, namely that Unison has staked a claim to being the UK's largest ...

Despite Baird’s blunder, Aberdeen won against University College London, but did not have enough points to progress to the next round.